Anyone who thinks that insurance agents don’t need a technology solution that will allow them to sell health insurance policies over the internet is, in a word, wrong. We could throw in some adjectives – completely wrong, dead wrong, etc. – but that would be more than one word.
If the fact that the government now has 1) a functioning website that will allow consumers to shop for and purchase coverage online and 2) a new Secretary of HHS who will work very hard to make it even better isn’t enough evidence that brokers who are trying to do business the old-fashioned way will have a difficult time surviving, there’s a great GSA Business article about all of the new opportunities for IT professionals that’s worth a read.
The opportunities mentioned in the article include programming jobs with insurance companies that need their systems updated to comply with the new regulations and that need their websites revamped “to make it easier for the consumer to learn about products, get answers, receive advice, and process applications and payments.”
Government entities need their websites updated as well, the article says, and, according to Lonnie Emard, the president of a nonprofit organization that supports the IT profession, nobody has yet figured out “how to deal with this massive amount of information that’s not being exchanged and that it is so vital for everyone.”
One of the biggest IT opportunities, the article explains, is creating online communication tools to help employers, employees, and individuals understand the health reform law. People are very uneducated about health insurance in general, so there’s a lot of work to do.
The point of all of this is not that agents should become IT professionals – sure, there are a lot of opportunities, but there are plenty of opportunities for people who sell health insurance as well. But brokers would do well to pay attention to what’s going on around them.
When you see a ton of construction going on in a particular part of town – new roads, new buildings, and the like – that’s usually a sign that the area is growing. It’s the same way with the health insurance industry. Business has been done the same way for a really long time, but the times are changing. The way people research their options, shop for coverage, and sign up for insurance is changing, and brokers who are not part of the solution – brokers who don’t have the technology to take advantage of this new trend – are going to miss out.
Learn how you can use technology to take advantage of the huge opportunity created by health reform – click here for more information.